Susan Bare’s family beach picture nearly was photo-bombed Saturday — by a 4-foot shark.
Bare and relatives were posing for a family photo taken by her daughter, April Plemmons, in ankle-deep water at 12:44 p.m. near 15th Avenue North in Cherry Grove when lifeguards told beachgoers to get out of the ocean.
“She had taken the photo just a minute before we were told to get out,” Bare said, unaware at the time of the reason for vacating the water.
Bare, a retired nurse and insurance agent, said it is in her nature to ask questions and said the lifeguard’s explanation was “big fish.”
“We turned right then and saw it,” said Bare, who, along with her family, live in Kannapolis, North Carolina, but spend time at her vacation home in the Cherry Grove section of North Myrtle Beach. “I’m talking a foot from us. It was in such shallow water it was unreal.”
Bare, who estimated the shark to have been about 4 feet long, was at the beach with her husband, Mike, son-in-law Cody Plemmons and grandchildren Brody, 5, Knox, 4, and 20-month-old Sadie in addition to her daughter. All but April Plemmons and Mike Bare were in the water at the time.
Bare said everyone calmly got out of the water and the only real excitement came when she pressed her daughter to get video of the rare event.
“You could go down the beach as far as you could see and see everyone lined up looking. It was right there in front of us. I was like ‘Video it, video it, April. Video it,’” she said. “The lifeguard said she had seen this before, but I personally had not seen something like it before. This is the closest I’ve ever seen, and you can tell by the video. Video don’t lie.”
Bare said the family got back in the water briefly Saturday and enjoyed the ocean once again Sunday without hesitation.
“We watched it go out,” she said of the shark. “We understood that this was very unusual.”
Bare credits the lifeguards for preventing panic during the situation, and said by Sunday everyone was back to enjoying the ocean as usual.
“We got in the water but not too deep, but so did everybody else,” she said. “I would have to say the lifeguards could have made the situation worse. If they had come down the beach running and in a panic ‘get out, get out, get out,’ it would have been different.”
Instead, the incident made for a story to tell and a sight that most people see only in an aquarium.
“For the grandchildren, we’d just seen a crab in the sand and then saw a jellyfish here not too long ago,” Bare said. “So this was like ‘Aww, we’re getting to see everything!’”